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Manuel "Manny" Lagos (born June 11, 1971) is a former American soccer midfielder who last played for the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer, and is the former Head Coach of Minnesota United FC. He is the son of Buzz Lagos—a noted American soccer coach at both the college and professional levels—and the youngest of eight children.[1]

Manny Lagos
Personal information
Full name Manuel Lagos
Date of birth (1971-06-11) June 11, 1971 (age 48)
Place of birth St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Minnesota United (sporting director)
Youth career
Saint Paul Blackhawks
1990–1992 Milwaukee
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1996 Minnesota Thunder ? (29)
1992UE Lleida (loan) 8 (0)
1994Clermont-Ferrand (loan) ? (?)
1996–1997 MetroStars 21 (0)
1998–1999 Chicago Fire 10 (0)
1999–2000 Tampa Bay Mutiny 37 (12)
2001–2003 San Jose Earthquakes 79 (14)
2004–2005 Columbus Crew SC 23 (1)
Total 178 (56)
National team
2001–2003 United States 3 (0)
Teams managed
2010–2015 Minnesota United FC
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only



Early careerEdit

Born in St. Paul,[2] Minnesota[3] Lagos played college soccer for the NCAA Division-I Milwaukee Panthers from 1990 to 1992,[4] and was named an NSCAA First-Team All-American in 1991. During and after college, from 1990 to 1996, Manny played for his father with the Minnesota Thunder, first as an amateur and a founding member of the club, and later as a professional. Amidst his Thunder days, he also had short stints with Clermont Foot in the French Third Division, and in Spain's lower divisions with Lleida.[1]

In 1994, the Thunder's last year as an all-amateur side, Lagos led the team through a near-perfect season and was awarded the USL MVP award, having scored 18 goals and 9 assists.[5] Upon leaving the club for MLS in 1996, he was inducted into the Thunder Hall of Fame with career totals of 29 goals and 12 assists; his brother and teammate, Gerard Lagos (who played for the team from 1990 through 2001) is also an inductee.[6] In 2006, Manny was elected to the USL Hall of Fame.[5]


In 1996, midway through the inaugural MLS season, Lagos was signed by the MetroStars. He impressed right away,[7] but his season was cut short after he tore his left-knee's ACL, MCL, and LCL in a single horrific injury just six games in.[1][7][8] Lagos made a comeback in the next season, playing in 15 league matches, but still impaired and less effective than before.[7] Frustrated with his injuries, the Metros exposed Manny in the 1997 MLS Expansion Draft, where he was taken by the Chicago Fire. Nowhere near fully recovered and considering retirement,[2] he only played one game for the MLS Cup champions in 1998, and went on to make only 9 appearances in 1999, always as a substitute, excluded from the first eleven due to his unreliable health and the Fire's surplus of attacking players.[1][9]

Lagos' vagabond MLS career took him to the Tampa Bay Mutiny with Ritchie Kotschau on August 2, 1999, part of a trade for Sam George and Paul Dougherty. He came back swinging, scoring 4 goals in 10 games and earning Player of the Week honors.[9][10] Lagos continued his momentum in 2000, when he scored 8 goals and added 7 assists in 1500 minutes, making him the league's tenth-place leader in points per game,[11] but he would eventually request a trade for personal reasons, as his wife disliked Tampa and wished to pursue her law career elsewhere.[1]

He was dealt to the San Jose Earthquakes in January 2001 on a draft-day trade for second-round and third-round picks,[12] and played for the Earthquakes from 2001 through 2003, starting regularly in every season and winning MLS Cups in the bookend years. He enjoyed what was likely his best season in 2001, playing a key role in the Earthquakes' playoff run by adding 3 goals and 2 assists to regular season totals of 8 and 8.[13] After his tenure with the 'Quakes, Lagos was traded to the Columbus Crew for a third-round draft pick,[3][4] and was reunited there with long-time friend and youth soccer, college soccer, and Thunder teammate Tony Sanneh after Sanneh signed with the Crew late in 2004.[14] Manny played 18 games and scored 1 goal for the Crew that year, but never really recovered from the last of his many knee surgeries,[2] seeing his playing time dwindle to 5 appearances in 2005. He was waived by Columbus that May to make room for Chris Henderson[15] and retired in June.[13]

In his nine years in MLS, Lagos scored 27 goals and added 36 assists, plus 4 goals and 4 assists in the postseason.[13] Though right-footed, he spent much of his career on the left side of midfield.[1] Noted for his gangly legs[2] and long, awkward strides,[16] Lagos possessed an unusual style on the ball where his technical skill[17] and knack for dribbling past opponents[18] belied his superficially clumsy appearance.[2][19] He is remembered as a talented player who was dogged by knee injuries throughout his career.[1]

National and Olympic TeamEdit

Lagos began his international career in the 1992 Summer Olympics, when he scored the second goal in a 3-1 win over Kuwait, the team's only victory.[20] His first full cap for the senior national team did not come until over nine years later, on December 9, 2001 against South Korea. He earned three caps for the US from 2001 to 2003, scoring no goals.[21]


In January 2006, Lagos was named the Director of Soccer Operations for the Minnesota Thunder.[8] In this role, he has placed particular emphasis on youth development, community relations, and the team's stadium search.[2] Manny has also done some sporadic work in broadcasting, serving as a color commentator for XM Radio during the 2006 World Cup.[2] On February 10, 2010 Lagos was appointed as the head coach of newly expansion NSC Minnesota Stars following the implosion of the Thunder.[22]

Lagos led the Stars to victory in the 2011 NASL Soccer Bowl, and to a runner up finish in the 2012 Soccer Bowl. After a disappointing 2013 season at the helm of the rebranded Minnesota United, Lagos led the Loons to the spring and regular season titles in 2014. He was named the NASL Coach of the Year in 2011[23] and in 2014,[24] the only coach to have won the award twice.

At the conclusion of the 2014 season and the firing of Tampa Bay Rowdies coach Ricky Hill, Lagos became the longest tenured coach in the NASL. In five seasons with Minnesota, Lagos has a coaching record of 54-47-38 (W-L-D).


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mahoney, Ridge. "Back on the right foot"(PDF), Soccer America, October 1, 2001, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Quarstad, Brian. "An interview with Manny Lagos", Blue Sky Soccer, April 24, 2007, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Columbus sends draft pick to San Jose", ESPN, January 13, 2004, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Crew Acquires Midfielder Manny Lagos from San Jose for Draft Pick", Our Sports Central, January 13, 2004, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  5. ^ a b "2006 USL Hall of Fame Inductees Announced" Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine,, October 25, 2006, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  6. ^ "Thunder Hall of Fame" Archived 2008-08-12 at the Wayback Machine,, 2002, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c MetroFanatic. "Obscure Metro Files: Manny Lagos and Ezra Hendrickson",, June 2, 2006, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  8. ^ a b "Manny Lagos returns to Thunder" Archived 2008-09-22 at the Wayback Machine,, January 12, 2006, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Manny Lagos" Archived 2007-06-06 at the Wayback Machine,, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  10. ^ "Manny Lagos" (bio) Archived 2007-05-19 at the Wayback Machine,, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  11. ^ "2000 MLS Regular Season Statistics" Archived 2007-12-27 at the Wayback Machine,, 2000, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  12. ^ Page, Rodney. "Mutiny get help in front, back", St. Petersburg Times, February 6, 2001, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c "Three-time MLS champion Lagos retires", USA Today, June 23, 2005, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  14. ^ "Sanneh, Tony, Defender" Archived 2007-12-20 at the Wayback Machine,, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  15. ^ "Columbus acquires veteran Henderson", ESPN, May 26, 2005, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  16. ^ Hipps, Jay. "Lagos, Foudy selected for USL Hall of Fame", Soccer Silicon Valley, October 25, 2006, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  17. ^ "MLS Notebook",, July 24, 2001, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  18. ^ "San Jose Earthquakes: 2001 Outlook", ESPN, 2001, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  19. ^ Ford, Dan. "San Jose Earthquakes",, 2002, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  20. ^ Riding, Alan. "Kuwait Proves Friendly Despite Loss to Americans", New York Times, July 28, 1992, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  21. ^ "U.S. Men's National Team Player Registry" Archived 2009-07-31 at the Wayback Machine, National Soccer Hall of Fame, retrieved December 30, 2007.
  22. ^ "Manny Lagos Named Head Coach of NSC Minnesota Stars Soccer Team". IMSoccer Retrieved 2010-02-24.
  23. ^ "Minnesota Stars FC Coach Manny Lagos Named Field Turf 2011 NASL Coach of the Year". IMSoccer Retrieved 2014-11-18.
  24. ^ "Lagos is NASL Coach of the Year". Retrieved 2014-11-18.